The advocacy documentary “Poverty Inc.” claims that the Federal Reserve, like other central banks such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, is a pyramid scheme that redistributes wealth from the many to the few through quantitative easing. It characterizes the Fed as an unconstitutional lobbying body for commercial banks that prints money out of thin air.
The film also contends that the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act effectively turned Goldman Sachs from a financial casino into a commercial bank with full government coverage. Its former head, Henry Paulson, went to the George W. Bush administration to leverage how much it could borrow speculatively, the film says, then bailed out the firm when he became the Treasury secretary.
Low-cost filmmaking equipment has deluded many into thinking that anyone can make a movie, especially in the nonfiction arena where no performers are required. Many of these works turn out to be propaganda films or amateurish public-access fare.
In this particular case, filmmaker Gary Null, a nutritional supplements manufacturer, fashions the exhaustive and exhausting cinematic equivalent of an academic paper, with sound bites indiscriminately collected from the likes of Ralph Nader and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich as well as seemingly random folks like a family doctor and the owner of a vintage clothing store. It’s not pleasant to be bludgeoned with rhetoric even if you subscribe to the film’s premise.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, Pasadena.